New leader of Hounslow Council Promises a better borough and a ‘listening Council’
Cllr Shantanu Rajawat. Picture: Hounslow Labour
|Councillor Shantanu Rajawat Shantanu.Rajawat@hounslow.gov.uk;|
The new leader of Hounslow Council is Shantanu Rajawat after he was selected by the local Labour Party at its AGM on Monday 9 May.
The former borough finance chief had widely been expected to take over from Steve Curran even before the party maintained its control of the council in the recent election. He won the vote ahead of six other candidates for the leadership.
He has lived in the borough all his life and represents the Heston West constituency where he works in the gem and precious stone industry. Cllr Rajawat graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury in Politics and International Relations and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP University.
After the vote he said, “I am honoured and humbled the Labour Group has elected me as their new leader and I am very grateful for the support of my colleagues.
“I am committed to building on the best work of the last administration, working to tackle climate change and air pollution, improve our estates and communities, and build social housing.
“But I also want us to forge out in new directions to build an even better borough. Fundamentally, residents and businesses want a listening Council.
“I want to work across the borough for cleaner streets and more opportunities for young people in Hounslow. I want to give local people every chance for their voices to be heard on local decisions so that everyone in Hounslow, from Chiswick to Cranford has a seat at the table.”
His deputy will be Katherine Dunne who was formerly Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency.
No major change of policy direction is anticipated from the new leadership team with many of the former Cabinet expected to remain although portfolio responsibilities may shift.
The outgoing leader Steve Curran, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer said on social media, “Thank you to the people of #Hounslow, the community groups, businesses, voluntary organisations, police, health workers & many others for your commitment to making Hounslow an outstanding borough.”
CLEANING UP POLITICS IN HOUNSLOW
Hounslow Council has been featured more than once in Private Eye as a ‘Rotten Borough’. According to Councillor Theo Denniston, Hounslow Council breaks the law every month because decisions are not taken by by Cabinet in a public meeting: they are taken in private at a pre-meeting which the public, and most councillors, never see. Furthermore, £229,000 is entirely within the gift of the leader of the council every year to shore up their leadership meaning the party is put above the interests of the public – listen to Theo Denniston on the way the public never sees how decisions are made and how trust needs to be and must be restored in councillors
Leader who described Chiswick residents as “hardcore rump”, “desperate” and “irrelevant” jumps before he is pushed
OneChiswick welcomes the eventual resignation last night of Hounslow Council Leader Steve Curran. In an apparent fratricide running through Hounslow Labour, which has already deselected Cabinet Members Hanif Khan and Lily Bath, and seen another, Candice Atterton step down, OneChiswick is pleased that the leadership that has forced unwanted changes upon Chiswick is finally going, whether it is jumping ship or being pushed.
Despite realising he was finished, in his resignation speech Cllr Curran still had the audacity to say that “we have always had the good intentions of the residents at heart”. Perhaps he forgets that in Hounslow’s own consultations over 80% of respondents consistently opposed the changes in Chiswick (in some cases over 90%). Perhaps Cllr Curran also forgets describing the people of Chiswick who opposed his dictatorial regime as a “hardcore rump”, that “need to start to grow up”, as “embarrassing” and “as desperate as they are irrelevant”?
In contrast to Cllr Curran’s attacks on Chiswick, it is noted that before jumping last night, a vote of no confidence in Cllr Curran was proposed. This motion accused Cllr Curran of “staggering abuses” of the Labour candidate selection process, including the “failure to stop people paying [Labour Party] membership fees in return for…votes” and “trumped up charges and false allegations about sitting councillors”.
As Cllr Curran’s Labour colleague Cllr Theo Dennison said, “It is with absolutely no regrets that I welcome his resignation.” “In recent months we have seen the dark side of Steve Curran and it is most unfortunate to see the damage I believe he has done.”
The people have Chiswick have known this for some time and are relieved that Hounslow Labour has finally realised this.
Last week Cllr Curran was overheard saying on the 267 bus from Hammersmith to Hounslow to be “grateful that he didn’t have to take it too often”, after a delayed 45 minute journey caused by his own C9 cycle lane. At least Cllr Curran can now head off into the night in his own diesel Range Rover.
The fratricide still leaves two members of the current Cabinet standing for re-election who share significant blame for the blight inflicted on Chiswick: Cllr Guy Lambert, who denied his membership of Hounslow Cycling Campaign was a conflict of interest, and Cllr Katherine Dunne, who famously finally ‘fessed-up’ to her membership of Hounslow Cycling in an outrageous outburst at members of the public in a council meeting last summer
Both face investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to declare their conflicts of interest in clear contravention of the Council’s own constitution. Cllr Dunne is up for re-selection on Thursday night.
When OneChiswick started its campaign in the summer of 2020, its wish was to engage constructively with the Leaders of Hounslow Council to have solutions that worked for the needs of local residents and businesses and was also positive for the active walking and cycling initiatives. We have always been particularly concerned about the needs of the elderly and disabled and otherwise vulnerable who have been the worst hit.
The leadership of Hounslow Council refused at any stage to listen to any constructive engagement and forced its unwelcome and damaging measures through. We hope that whatever new Council leadership emerges, there will a change of tone and a genuine desire to listen work with local people and not against them.
Press Release dated 2nd December 2021
The legal challenge in respect of the temporary cycleway scheme on Chiswick High Road has now been withdrawn by OneChiswick Ltd.
The challenge for Judicial Review was made on the basis of an Experimental Traffic Order “C9T” in 2020 on which there were significant safety concerns about the cycleway’s design and discrimination against, and failure to consider, groups who were elderly, disabled, visually impaired and others who merit consideration under the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”).
Hounslow Council is in the process of replacing that Order with a new Traffic Order (“ETO2021”) and construction has already begun. This will run for another 18 months and once again is described as “temporary”.
There are substantial modifications to the original scheme, which reflect many of the concerns made by OneChiswick but none reflect feedback from the consultation on PSED that the Council lauded in August that it would “listen” to. Nor does it show the evidence of the pollution these changes have caused through traffic displacement, simply because it has not been measured (save for one device whose location after the changes became less relevant as the main traffic was now closer to the CHR). A tree on the Chiswick High Road has just been cut down to allow for the new works.
OneChiswick Ltd is now studying the detail and lawfulness of the new ETO2021 and related decisions issued in November as it considers its next steps.
OneChiswick Ltd will continue to apply the resources that it has to campaign against road changes that are divisive, damaging, and in some instances dangerous, to Chiswick residents, to Chiswick High Road and in the wider Chiswick area – especially on behalf of the most vulnerable groups in the community.
OneChiswick thanks all of those who have given so much help in the form of active volunteering, generous donations and moral support to its hard fought campaign.
*b) Notes that, at Cabinet on 20 July 2021, the Council resolved to withdraw the current ETOs for the scheme and make a new ETO (C9 2021) to trial a range of alterations to the scheme design to address issues noted in data collected on, and responses received to, the temporary scheme
Extract from the TfL Board Statement
R (OneChiswick) v London Borough Hounslow
Transport for London Statement
We were named as an Interested Party in a claim for judicial review and associated statutory challenge brought by a local pressure group against the London Borough of Hounslow, challenging Hounslow’s decisions to implement the temporary C9 Cycleway. Following monitoring of the scheme, Hounslow announced that it will bring the current scheme to an end and make a new Experimental Traffic Order implementing a modified version of it to address some of the impacts. The Claimant has discontinued its claims, bringing the legal proceedings to an end
Announcement on November 3rd 2021
We would like to correct some misleading speculation fuelled in social media in the last day or two about the current position of OneChiswick Ltd and its position regarding the Judicial Review challenge on the C9 Cycleway. OneChiswick Ltd has not withdrawn its Challenge for Judicial Review.
This challenge was issued last November, against an Experimental Traffic Order – ETO for the Temporary C9 – C9T. It raised funds to take the process through the High Court and the due date for a trial would have been this month.
In July 2021, the London Borough of Hounslow suddenly announced the intention that it would drop this Order and create a new Traffic Order in its place – “TC9R.” It said that there would be substantial modifications to the design of the Cycle Way including new safety features. This was passed by the Cabinet in July and approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in August, at which Cllr Hanif Khan promised a comprehensive 21 day consultation. But this hasn’t yet become a reality.
The Council has not yet dropped the ETO for the Temporary C9 – C9T -neither has the new Traffic Order nor the results of the consultation have been published. A 21 day consultation was conducted during the school holidays in August and September. The Council had indicated that it expected both to be published by the end of September but this has not yet happened.
OneChiswick Ltd is still waiting, along with the rest of the community in Chiswick for the London Borough of Hounslow’s next steps and will respond accordingly.
OneChiswick remains committed to campaigning for the welfare of the people in Chiswick, their need for safety, mobility and good access and is grateful for the generous support it continues to receive from the local community.
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OCTOBER 8TH 2021
HOUNSLOW COUNCIL DAMNED BY LOCAL OMBUDSMAN – FOR IMPOSING ACCESS RESTRICTIONS WITHOUT SUITABLE GROUNDS (TO TURNHAM GREEN TERRACE AND DEVONSHIRE ROAD DURING COVID 19)
The independent Local Government Ombudsman, a body that listens to complaints against councils, has severely criticised Hounslow Council and its failures when Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road were closed to all vehicles (except buses and blue badge holders) last year to enable social distancing as a result of Covid -19.
The Decision, following an investigation by a complaint by a local resident, highlighted many flaws by the Council officers in closing these roads to through traffic and imposing fines – quotes below.
The Ombudsman’s Decision provides independent evidence that Hounslow Council, and its officers, felt they had the power to do whatever they wished with traffic on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road. This was clearly misplaced.
What is emerging is that without recourse to adequate technical reasoning, without adequate consideration of the requirements of PSED and contrary to its own stated policy about closing major roads, the Council was determined to introduce measures to support cycling and walking, without regard for the consequences for the majority of residents and traders in Chiswick.
3 specific concerns are highlighted in the following texts extracted from the Decision.
Flaw 1 – Lack of evidence
“First, while I recognise the Council provided some reasons, I note these were general in nature, saying the closures were considered beneficial to pedestrians and cyclists. I do not consider these statements alone adequately explain the decision to close the roads in question to through traffic.
l expected to see some evidence to show that officers considered the potential impact of these proposals. But there is no record of what consideration the Council gave to various factors which may have been relevant to its decision. For example, it is not recorded:
- What consideration officers gave to how much vehicular or bicycle traffic was thought to use these routes;
- Why cyclists would benefit from these short stretches of road closed to most other traffic given they did not form part of any integrated bicycle corridor;
- Why pedestrians may further benefit from closing the road to through traffic given the decision to already widen the footways;
- What officers thought would happen to vehicles if they could not transit directly. This is especially surprising in the case of Turnham Green Terrace which is a classified ‘B’ road and acknowledged a ‘major road’ by the Council. One of the stated aims of the Council’s policy was to prevent residential roads being used as ‘rat runs’ – a term understood to refer to residential roads being used as an alternative to major roads. So, to divert traffic from a major road on to other residential roads would appear contradictory.”
On this first point the Ombudsman concludes:
“I would still have expected the Council to keep some record of its thinking. I consider the lack of record keeping to explain how the Council decided to close these roads to through traffic justifies a finding of fault.”
Flaw 2 – Cursory analysis of impact on other road users
“Second, there is also no record of how the PSED was considered in respect of each road closure. I find the Council was conscious of the need to have regard to its PSED in respect of each decision. It referenced this in the second officer report issued in May 2020. It is also inferred by its decision to retain access to both roads for parking for blue badge users.
However, it is evident from the October 2020 paper to Cabinet that its consideration of the PSED was general and cursory. While we would not have expected it necessarily to carry out a full PSED assessment, there is no record to suggest that it considered the potential impact of the closures on groups other than those with disability but who might have other protected characteristics, particularly that of age. This is a section of the population less likely to cycle or walk significant distances.
It is also a section of the population more likely to be reliant on public transport yet also reluctant to use public transport during the pandemic. Again, I would expect to find some record that officers considered this section of the population in its decision making. But none has been provided. That too justifies a finding of fault.”
Flaw 3 – Contradiction
“Third, there is the contradiction between the paper the Council published in early May 2020 and its action in using the Streetscape measures to close Turnham Green Terrace to through traffic. That paper explicitly said the Council would not use this policy to close major roads. Yet three weeks later that is what it proposed to do. There is no explanation for this change in position. That was a fault.”
Comment: The Ombudsman has exposed a coercive culture within Hounslow Council that does not understand Chiswick and suffers from being both physically and mentally remote from the area in its decision making.
The decision makers appear ignorant of the fact Chiswick has the highest take up of cycling already in the Borough and is the least car dependent part of the Borough.
This suggests their energies would be better focused on other areas of the Borough where greater benefits would be derived from encouraging cycling and walking and less dependence on car use.
Contrary to many claims by the more extreme members of the cycling community, OneChiswick supports improvements for both cycling and walking but there has to be a balanced approach which fully recognises the needs of all members of the Chiswick community and improvements should be agreed upon through proper consultation and not by coercion.
Cllr Sam Hearn, spokesperson on traffic and transport for the Hounslow Group of Conservative Councillors commented,
“The response of the Ombudsman has confirmed what many of us have known for some time: When they were engaged in placing restrictions on access to Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road the behaviour of those acting on behalf of Hounslow Council fell well below the standard that residents should reasonably expect from their local authority. We believe that this reflects, a systemic failure by the council to properly understand its responsibilities and duties, and in addition a blind unquestioning adherence to a policy that has been overwhelmingly rejected by residents. The complainant is to be congratulated on his persistence in holding the council to account.”
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OneChiswick calls for LB Hounslow to reverse its decision to permanently close Chiswick roads – 31ST AUGUST 2021
On the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend, without giving prior notice to local councillors, LB Hounslow sneaked out a report announcing its decision to make permanent many of the emergency “Streetspace” traffic orders it introduced last year under the guise of being necessary measures to deal with the Covid pandemic, to increase social distancing and encourage active travel.
Councillor Hanif Khan, Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Transport has been profuse in declaring how the Council has listened to the views of local people before making these decisions. In June he couldn’t have been clearer in his press statement on the Streetspace schemes:
“I want to thank the thousands of people who took part in the consultation.” “We are continuing to listen to what residents and our local business community are telling us about the Streetspace trials, with the aim of retaining the best of the schemes, but also being prepared to amend or remove trials where they are not working.”
LB Hounslow ran a 6 month consultation on the temporary measures, as required by law. However the results show a completely different picture to that presented by Councillor Khan and Hounslow Council. In 6 of the road closures in Chiswick that the Council will now make permanent, there was overwhelming local opposition to the proposals:
|Scheme to be made permanent by Hounslow’s 27 August announcement||Number of respondents to LB Hounslow consultation||% of respondents to LB Hounslow consultation who were “Strongly opposed”||% of respondents to LB Hounslow’s consultation who said “It should be stopped / reversed immediately”|
Councils like Redbridge, Ealing and Harrow have withdrawn their LTNs with less or even equivalent opposition.
Hounslow took notice of residents’ discontent with the measures on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road, although Devonshire Road measures have only been partially reversed and it remains closed overnight (from 5pm to 8am), year round for reasons Hounslow Council refuse to explain (we have asked).
|Schemes changed||Number of respondents to LB Hounslow consultation||% of respondents to LB Hounslow consultation who were “Strongly opposed”||% of respondents to LB Hounslow’s consultation who said “It should be stopped / reversed immediately”|
|Turnham Green Terrace||2,582||89%||84%|
Why is the council making a considerable number of Streetspace measures permanent in the face of similar opposition from local residents?
If this is what Hanif Khan (councillor for Hanworth Park in Feltham) calls listening, then he must also be deaf, at least to the sounds of Chiswick residents. Thousands of them, as he has acknowledged.
OneChiswick requests that LB Hounslow reconsiders these decisions based on the overwhelming opposition of local residents and asks why Cllr Khan is not listening to local residents?
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Chiswick Streetscape Engagement meeting: A Horror Show
Chiswick residents were horrified on Friday evening (8th August) as they watched London Borough of Hounslow’s Officers and advisers say that the deterioration in their lives was a “price worth paying” for Hounslow Streetspace schemes.
A large number of residents across Chiswick stand united against the schemes, the divisions they have caused and the negative impact on many Chiswick lives.
Residents watched as the Head of Transport – Jefferson Nwokeoma, and the Council’s advisers – Steer, responded unsympathetically to residents after listening to the impact their Streetspace measures have on local people.
Hounslow Council’s failing in their duty of care to all residents was amplified when Jefferson Nwokeoma said to residents of Burlington Lane and elsewhere, who are now suffering the brunt of displaced traffic from Staveley Road and Hartington Road, that the deterioration in their lives and well being was a ‘price worth paying”.
As one resident said, “Not only are the Council making decisions on self-selecting inaccurate traffic and pollution data, they plough on knowing that the data does not withstand serious scrutiny, with no appreciation of the area and the harm and distress they are causing. We deserve better of our Council.
The idea that they can call a poorly notified, virtual session on a Friday night in early August proper engagement is a joke.”
Further a resident went on to say: “Last year, The Chiswick Calendar reported that Council Leader, Steve Curran had said “I am not….concerned…about people in Chiswick……” in an online Council meeting. In the meeting on Friday night it became clear this Council at all levels believes this. That is a failure to understand their duty of care to all residents.”
OneChiswick stands united with all Borough residents and seeks solutions that are fair for all, protect the human rights of all residents and do not discriminate against anyone. We call on the Council for real engagement through proper consultation with all the people of Chiswick.
295 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick,
London W4 4HH
To: Members of London Borough of Hounslow Cabinet
Date: 20 July 2021
Request for full consultation and engagement with experts from Peter Evans Partnership
In view of the Cabinet Meeting being held tonight at Hounslow Council, this letter is a list of comments and concerns raised by OneChiswick on the new proposals.
It is requested that the experts retained by OneChiswick, the Peter Evans Partnership, should have the opportunity for a detailed and substantial meeting with officers from Hounslow and TfL to discuss these concerns as part of the pre-engagement programme.
OneChiswick represents thousands of local Chiswick residents who have signed petitions, donated thousands of pounds and contributed to the various consultations issued by Hounslow Council on several Experimental Traffic Orders. OneChiswick Ltd has pursued an action for Judicial Review of the original ETO for the Temporary C9 (“C9T”) which was launched originally by a disabled resident with a life limiting condition, Asal Shirazi, and a local trader of many years standing, Mike Ormrod. We are given to understand that the Council is now proposing to discontinue the C9T ETO in favour of a new one (“TC9R” or “the Cycleway”).
OneChiswick has a website, onechiswick.com which sets out its objectives. OneChiswick is not and has never been “anti-cycling” but believes that road usage needs to be arranged in an equitable and safe manner. Most leading members of OneChiswick are active walkers and cyclists and all want to achieve an improved outcome.
The central concerns that OneChiswick had about the C9T as implemented were:
- safety of all road users, especially pedestrians who are the most vulnerable, the elderly and the disabled, who comprise a large proportion of the population of Chiswick.
- the damaging effect on those who are dependent on a daily basis on the six bus routes that use the Chiswick High Road.
- the position and nature of the bus stops and the access to where the buses actually stop.
- displaced congestion and pollution – vehicles which can no longer use the High Road because of extended journey times being forced onto other roads, which are residential and will be more damaging and dangerous to local people who live and use those roads.
- taxis, which could not pick up and drop off passengers who depend on them to being accessible places.
- avoid a design which could be the cause of major gridlock and standstill, causing unbearable distress for thousands who travel in and around Chiswick, whether in cars, buses, or commercial vehicles, on bicycles or as pedestrians.
OneChiswick.com recognises that some of its concerns are being addressed by the proposed replacement Traffic Order, TC9R and that is to be welcomed. Some features however are not being addressed even though they could be without detriment to cycling and with great benefit to other road users and pedestrians.
In addition, there are major claims being made in a report to Cabinet, and through which Cabinet’s decision is sought, which either cannot be substantiated or present a misleading impression of the true position. In particular, it is being claimed that the Cycleway has improved safety, because the number of accidents involving cyclists on the relevant section of C9T has decreased. We believe the opposite to be true and provide data to prove this.
The issues in the Cabinet report “Cycleway 9: Chiswick High Road, Goldhawk Road to Heathfield Terrace” by Councillor Hanif Khan, Lead Member for Transport and One Hounslow (“the Report”), that that we wish to draw to your attention are:
- Cycleway safety: we believe Cabinet is being presented with incomplete and inaccurate data regarding collisions on Cycleway 9; in particular the claimed reduction in cycling collisions between Heathfield Terrace and Goldhawk Road in the first six months of the Cycleway’s operation is actually a significant increase when the Metropolitan data is correctly analysed.
- Compliance with LTN 1/20: we understand from traffic experts that both the existing and proposed C9T designs fail to complywith the Department of Transport’s design guide LTN1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design, and we outline those faults.
- Pollution and congestion: pollution is measured at only one location on the scheme, which is not where TfL forecast (correctly) that congestion would increase significantly (by up to 66%). We seek further analysis of the impact of congestion at these points on local air pollution levels.
- Cycleway usage: we are also concerned that Cabinet is being presented with misleading data regarding cycleway usage, in particular the claims that it has risen by 72% and that up to 2,700 cyclists per day use the cycleway, and provide an analysis of why this is the case.
- Popularity of the cycleway with local people: the Report states “a slight majority of residents supporting protected cycle lanes in Chiswick High Road”. TfL confirmed this as 47% compared to 43% in opposition, of a survey of 1000 people living up to 2km from the 1.3km section of Cycleway. The last significant local consultation showed on the changes to Chiswick High Road showed 95% of nearly 3000 respondents were against the changes.
- Trees: the new plans propose to fell mature trees for what is described as a “temporary” cycleway. Removing mature trees of several decades standing for a temporary installation under an Experimental Traffic Order is open to serious question.
These are the main points we have identified so far with limited time to review the Cabinet papers and proposed design, but there may be further issues which will arise as we have more opportunity to review the documentation
We are concerned that the three week “pre”consultation period appears be scheduled during July and August when substantial numbers of people are on holiday.
We would urge that the pre consultation period commences in September and not before to give people time to assess and study the proposals and be present to respond to them so that it can be seen to be as meaningful and as genuine as possible.
OneChiswick, supported by the donations of more than 700 residents (including several pensioners) and traders, commissioned expert consultants to examine all aspects of the route for the Judicial Review. This evidence will be used in the process of alternative dispute resolution, or in evidence at a hearing before a judge.
Request for Engagement with OneChiswick’s Experts
In view of the planned pre-engagement on the new ETO if Cabinet approves the proposal (and we request you consider whether you should, in view of the points we make about the evidence presented in the Report), we ask that the traffic officers from Hounslow and the experts who have designed the parts of the route from TfL agree to attend a meaningful meeting with our consultants, together with one or two suitably qualified professional local residents who know the route very well, in order to attempt to resolve outstanding issues with the design of C9T as it is reflected in TC9R.
Attachment – Appendix re Cycleway safety, Compliance with LTN 1/20, Pollution and congestion, and Cycleway usage
APPENDIX re Cycleway safety, Compliance with LTN 1/20, Pollution and congestion, and Cycleway usage
In paragraph 37 of the Report, it states “The Metropolitan Police’s provisional collision data for the C9T corridor since opening highlights that the protected cycle lanes have significantly improved cycle safety. In the 12 months before C9T opened there were eight cycle collisions and in the six months since C9T opened there have only been two collisions.”
OneChiswick has obtained Metropolitan Police data for collisions on Chiswick High Road for the first 6 months of the operation of the Cycleway. The data for all collisions involving a cyclist is presented below.
Reviewing the data, which is understood to have come from TfL, raises several issues as to the veracity of the statement in the Cabinet papers upon which you are being asked to rely as to the safety of the Cycleway.
- The Metropolitan Police data shows 6 collisions involving cyclists between Heathfield Terrace and Goldhawk Road in the 6 month period since the Cycleway opened (highlighted above), not 2 as has been reported to Cabinet.
- TfL stated further in an email response that “the data that TfL’s systems use has a time lag between collisions taking place on street and then being passed from the Metropolitan Police systems to ours. This time period allows data to be carefully processed and validated. This process can on occasion change the location, type or severity of a collision. Therefore two of the more recent collisions / casualties on the ChiswickW4.com data (on 27th April and 12th June) have not completed this validation and processing.”
- This means that the data is not Metropolitan Police data, but TfL data, as it chooses to exclude certain collisions from the Met data.
- It also means that TfL has not included any collisions in its analysis since before 27 April 2021. This means that the data it has considered is for, at most, 4 months and possibly as little as 2 months, not the 6 months as claimed in TfL’s press release and the report to Cabinet.
- TfL and LBH claim from this data that the number of collisions involving cyclists has decreased from 8 in the 12 months before C9T opened to 2 in the six months since it opened as evidence that C9T has “significantly improved cycle safety”. However, using exactly the same methodology on the Metropolitan Police’s actual data for the full 6 month period since the cycleway opened shows that collisions involving cyclists have increased 50% pro forma (8 to 12), leading one to conclude that it has resulted in a significant deterioration of cycling safety.
- It could also be noted that the average daily flow of cyclists on this section of road in 2020 was measured as 2215 (see data presented below), compared to the average of 1719 in the 4 months TfL measured since the Cycleway opened. So in other words, the number of cyclists decreased 23% and the number of collisions increased 50%. Pro forma for the number of cyclists, the number of collisions involving cyclists, therefore, very nearly doubled.
- It is also worth noting the cycle collisions at the junction of Oxford Road North. Since the introduction of the Acton Lane ‘bus gate’, which was intended and designed to shift congestion off the central part of Chiswick Lane (TfL Wiseall evidence to Judicial Review), Oxford Road North has become a ‘rat run’ through a residential area to avoid the congestion created by the bus gate.
Compliance with LTN 1/20
OneChiswick has learned from traffic experts of deficiencies in both the current and proposed designs of C9T that are not compliant with the Department of Transport’s design guide LTN1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design. It understands there is failure to meet the required standards and guidance in LTN 1/20 in three respects:
- LTN1/20 states that the minimum width of a two-way cycleway, where there is a physical barrier on one side, in this case the 1m high plastic wands, must be 3.5m. C9T both today and in the proposed modification is 3.0m wide and thus it fails to meet standards and, while operational, it is too narrow for two-way cycle movements and is potentially unsafe.
- LTN1/20 provides standards for setting back the cycleway from the point where a side road meets the main road carriageway, this being important since there are so many side roads along the length of Chiswick High Road. The present layout of C9T, with the two-way cycleway passing side roads with no set back provided, should not have been constructed last year since LTN1/20 clearly states that this is a layout that is not suitable for use in conjunction with two-way cycleway design.
The proposed modifications seek to provide partial setbacks of around 1.5m at all side roads except Devonshire Road where it is almost 3m. LTN 1/20 only addresses such partial setbacks in conjunction with one-way, with-flow cycleways and no examples are provided for two-way cycleways. Also, LTN 1/20 cautions that the technique to provide the partial, one-way cycleway set back has not yet been widely applied in the UK. Hence the modifications being proposed for Chiswick High Road with a two-way cycleway are largely untested and it is very unlikely that they will provide safer conditions for cyclists, since vehicle drivers still have the problem of avoiding conflict when executing turning-in or turning-out movements across the cycleway, as the sight lines for drivers have not been significantly improved.
TfL has also published examples for best design for a two-way cycleway in an urban London street (Blackfriars Road) and the set backs are shown as being 5m of more, thus allowing turning vehicles to sit in a safe space between the main carriageway and the cycleway while waiting for gaps in either the cycle or vehicle flows. LTN1/20 also provides standards showing a minimum of 5m setbacks and states they are suitable for two-way cycleways where two-way operation can be justified.
- LTNs views on the justification for a two-way cycleway are relevant today, since the latest version of LTN 1/20 was published in July 2020, this being after the decision was taken by Cabinet to proceed with the two-way C9 along Chiswick High Road. In the intervening period the characteristics of pedestrian movements on both sides of the central section of the Chiswick High Road have also changed, especially with the large amount of pedestrian activity associated with the weekly markets on Sundays on the south side.
LTN 1/20 offers clear guidance on opportunities and challenges for the provision two-way cycleways and Chiswick High Road fails in all respects to meet the requirements as set out in the document and thus the justification for seeking to provide a two-way cycleway, rather than, for example one-way or other route alternatives, is clearly in doubt and should be acknowledged in any future decisions about provision and design.
Pollution and congestion (paragraphs 19, 20 and 25)
In paragraph 39 of the report Cabinet is told that “There is a close link between the amount of traffic, congestion, and air quality.” It further states that “data from the air quality monitoring station in Chiswick High Road opposite Windmill Road does provide an indication of the air quality impacts resulting from the C9T changes. It shows an overall improvement in air quality.”
LBH concedes it has limited capacity to provide evidence of air quality, but to suggest an “overall improvement in air quality” is misleading.
Windmill Road is located broadly one third of the way along the section of C9T between Heathfield Terrace and Goldhawk Road, and is not a location where TfL forecast congestion as a result of C9T.
In paragraph 19 Cabinet is told that “it has been difficult to understand the full impacts on traffic following implementation of the scheme”, however, this is at odds with TfL’s own analysis of the Scheme (evidence of Andrew Wiseall, Network Performance Delivery Manager at Transport for London, to the Judicial Review), in which it is stated TfL state that
- “All approaches to this junction [Chiswick Lane, Goldhawk Road, King Street] will see significant, potentially unmanageable increases in queuing affecting all 5 routes using this junction” The proposed changes under the new ETO do absolutely nothing to relieve the correctly forecast congestion at this junction created by C9T.
- “Chiswick High Road Westbound and Chiswick Lane northbound will run significantly overcapacity potentially resulting in unmanageable queuing”. This forecast has proved correct, and the re-introduction of the left filter lane onto Chiswick Lane may help alleviate this, but traffic flow will not return to its pre-C9T levels due to light phasing being slowed by the Cycleway, so congestion and pollution will have increased at this point.
What does TfL mean by significant? In one case, it estimated queuing would increase by 66%. As TfL’s Head of Network Performance described it, “this temporary scheme is going to be challenging for all traffic moving around that part of London”.
TfL’s expectations are confirmed by its analysis. In its evidence to the High Court, TfL observed, “Ongoing bus performance data from February and March does show an increase in bus journey times above pre-pandemic levels.” We believe the bus reliability data presented (paragraphs 21 and 22) significantly underplay the impact on local bus services, being based on sections of Chiswick High Road where congestion is not an issue, or being measured over the entire length of a bus route. It is correct that “bus delays are focused between Chiswick Lane and Goldhawk Road”. OneChiswick has measured that bus journeys from Ravenscourt Park to Stop RR on Chiswick High Road typically take 20 minutes in peak hours, a distance of 0.8 miles, or a speed of 2.4mph. This is slower than walking pace and we appreciate the proposal to reinstate the left filter lane onto Chiswick Lane to alleviate this issue.
TfL noted in its evidence to the Judicial Review that congestion would build at various points, including:
- Goldhawk Road
- King Street
- Chiswick Lane
- Chiswick High Road west of Acton Lane (as a result of the Acton Lane ‘bus gate’ which was required to prevent congestion building further east on Chiswick High Road, e.g., near the Windmill Road air monitoring station – further this congestion is shifting traffic onto the residential streets and created a ‘rat-run’ on Oxford Road North and even on a section of the Cycleway itself, on Wellesley Road)
Further it is evident from observation of increased congestion on
- South Parade (due to LBH decision to close Fishers Lane)
- Turnham Green Terrace (due to shorter light phasing as junction with CHR)
- Bath Road (backing up from Turnham Green Terrace, which it never had before, including outside the ArtsEd college)
Air quality at none of these points has been measured, and LBH may claim that some of these points lie outside its boundary, but if LBH’s initial statement in paragraph 39 is true, then congestion will have increased pollution at each of these points and ought to be monitored.
In the report, LBH state that there is potential for increased congestion as traffic levels rise post Covid, but it proposes leaving in place all but one of the measures that TfL correctly forecast would create significant congestion around Chiswick, and these remain unmonitored for pollution.
TfL highlighted in their recent press release and Cabinet is now being told (paragraph 33) that there was an increase of 72% in cycle flows between February 2021 and April 2021. While statistically correct, this presentation of data is highly, and seemingly deliberately, misleading in suggesting that the Cycleway has increased cycling activity.
In response to a request about this claim, TfL stated, “TfL has been undertaking weekday (Monday to Friday) and weekend cycle counts (Saturdays) since 20th December 2020 when the temporary cycle lanes opened. Since coronavirus restrictions reduced in April 2021, there has been a noticeable increase in weekday cycling levels. The average daily weekday cycle flows for February, March, April and May were 1239, 1598, 2125 and 1916 respectively.”
So, in selecting the April figure of 2125 as a 72% increase over 1239 in February, TfL has chosen to:
- Ignore the full data set, which extended into May, and would have suggested a lower increase
- Compare February (15 rain days, 6 snow days, 7 fine days, average temperature 6C) with April (6 rain days, 3 snow days, 21 fine days, average temperature 8C)
- Ignore Saturday cycle counts (which presumably did not support an increase in cycling?)
It has also ignored comparable data with prior years; despite forecasting a substantial increase in cycling due to Covid, this has not occurred:
Cycle counts on Chiswick High Road (A3000 Heathfield Terrace to A316 Chiswick Lane)
|Year||Average daily flow|
|2021 (4 months)||1719|
It would have been more accurate for TfL to inform Cabinet that “Cycling decreased 13% on Chiswick High Road since the introduction of C9T, compared to the prior 3 years.”
In paragraph 34 Cabinet is being told “At weekends, however, the numbers of people cycling are much higher than pre-Covid with up to 2,700 cyclists a day using C9T before Easter 2021.” On querying this data, TfL clarify that on one single day, “Saturday 27th February and between 6am and 10pm, our data shows that there were 2,746 cyclists using Chiswick High Road in the section where the temporary cycle lanes were installed.”
It is clear from reviewing tweets on Hounslow Cycling’s feed, that there was a concerted effort by cycling campaigners to use C9T on that particular day, including by Hounslow Cycling, Bedford Park Bicycle Club, and a tweet by Jeremy Vine, who has a substantial following and is an attendee at Hounslow Cycling meetings. Screenshots attached.
Hounslow Cycling is a pressure group closely linked with LBH leadership; both Guy Lambert (Cabinet Member for Highways) and Katherine Dunne (Cabinet Member for Communities) are members, and Council Leader Steve Curran has attended its functions. Use of this data to justify the Cabinet decision presents a potential conflict of interest.
It appears that this was a concerted effort to increase usage of the Cycleway on one day, such that the data may be presented to argue, falsely, an increased use of the Cycleway beyond that which might be the true position.
Popularity of the cycleway with local people
The Report states “a slight majority of residents supporting protected cycle lanes in Chiswick High Road”, quoting a “representative survey of 2,000 residents”, but noting that these ‘residents’ live as far as 2km from the 1.3km section of C9T in question. Further, TfL indicate in their responses that the survey size was only 1,000 people. The impression of a majority in the Report and by TfL in its press release is confirmed by TfL as 47% compared to 43% in opposition.
In contrast, the last significant local consultation undertaken on C9T was in November 2020 when LBH used Commonplace to glean views of nearly 3000 Chiswick residents on the Streetspace measures that had been introduced, including C9T. In that consultation, the people of Chiswick had their say – not those living 2km away in Barnes, Fulham, Acton or Shepherds Bush. Thousands of residents overwhelmingly asked for Chiswick road closures and other measures to be reversed, the bus lane to be reinstated and, parking and refuges to be reinstated too. The figures for comments related to Chiswick High Road were 95% against the changes. A local consultation of an equivalent scale is needed to test the response of Chiswick residents and local traders now that the cycle way has been in place for over six months.
PRESS RELEASE*****PRESS RELEASE*****PRESS RELEASE*****PRESS
13th July 2021
Is TfL bringing governance at Hounslow Council into disrepute?
Tonight, the Overview And Scrutiny Committee of Hounslow Council will meet and be asked to consider the proposed next steps for the Temporary Cycleway 9 in Chiswick.
Proposals approved by TfL will be presented by Cllr. Hanif Khan, Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Transport. On Friday, TfL presented data which they claimed supported its proposals, but closer investigation showed that TfL’s data was quite misleading:
§ TfL stated its “provisional” data showed collisions involving cyclists had reduced to only 2 in the first 6 months since the Temporary Cycleway’s introduction, compared to 8 in the prior year. The actual data that OneChiswick obtained from the Metropolitan Police showed 11 accidents involving cyclists on Chiswick High Road in the first 6 months of the Cycleway’s operation.
§ TfL claimed “New data shows cycling has increased by 72 per cent”. In fact, TfL data compared April 2021 (which had 21 ‘warmer’ dry days) to February 2021 (15 ‘colder’ wet days, and 6 snowing, and only 7 dry). TfL’s claim is statistically meaningless, and highly misleading.
§ TfL claimed that “Up to 2,700 people a day are cycling along the route.” This was on one day only. On Sunday 25 April 2021, the London Cycling Campaign organised a mass cycle expedition to ride on the Temporary Cycleway 9 in Chiswick. London Cycling Campaign is regularly consulted by TfL and was even quoted in TfL’s press statement, despite no official mandate or connection.
§ TfL claimed “Air quality along [Chiswick High Road] has improved during the trial”, but they only measured it at one point. They did not measure it at any of the points where TfL’s own analysis in 2020 showed that the Temporary Cycleway 9 would lead to “significant, potentially unmanageable increases in queuing” (eg at Goldhawk Road, Chiswick Lane).
§ TfL claims it “commissioned independent representative research to get a balanced view from residents in the area.” Scrutiny of the data it provided show that it interviewed only 48 people and less than half of them supported the Temporary Cycleway 9. Surveys conducted in Chiswick show over 90% opposition.
The TfL Code of Conduct for its officers states:
§ “TfL seeks to fulfil obligations according to the original principles laid out in the Nolan Report on standards of behaviour in public life [which include honesty, integrity, objectivity and openness]”
§ “TfL aims to conduct its business with honesty and integrity and expects employees to maintain the highest ethical standards.”
TfL’s press release falls far short of these standards, including the Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, who stated “’This data shows the huge positive impact cycle lanes can have not only in enabling more people to cycle, but also in reducing road danger and improving air quality. Chiswick High Road has been transformed by the trial lane, with cycling on weekdays up by almost three quarters.”
Councillor Hanif Khan now finds himself in similar position as he presents TfL’s plan to the Overview And Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Khan said in TfL’s press release, ‘This new data is evidence of how effective the trial cyclelane in Chiswick has been especially in reducing collisions” and he further notes, “this cycle lane is helping us towards our commitment by improving air quality in the area”.
Cllr Khan is similarly required to abide by Hounslow Councillors’ Code of Conduct, which also adheres to the Nolan principles and states:
§ “Councillors are trusted to make decisions on behalf of their community and their actions and behaviour are subject to greater scrutiny than that of ordinary members of the public.”
§ “behaviour that is considered dishonest and/or deceitful can bring their local authority into disrepute”
The Overview And Scrutiny Committee exists to oversee Council decisions:
§ “by reviewing and/or scrutinising decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the Council’s functions” and can
§ “make recommendations to the Executive and/or appropriate Committee and/or Council arising from the outcome of the scrutiny process”
Yet the role of this committee now risks being brought into disrepute by the Report Cllr Khan has presented to it, which repeats some of TfL’s misleading claims. Further, Hounslow Council had refused to release to Committee Members TfL’s plans, even though TfL had previously consulted the London Cycling Campaign, had published a press release, and had emailed some details to members of the public and published them on its website.
There appears to be considerable neglect of TfL’s and Hounslow’s codes of conduct in an effort to subvert the protections accorded to the public by the Council’s usual governance procedures, including the role of the Overview And Scrutiny Committee.
Perhaps this is because, as Cllr Guy Lambert (Hounslow’s Cabinet member for Highways and a member of Hounslow Cycling) conceded, “Of course the C9 design is flawed”. The Overview and Scrutiny committee can be watched live (or on catch-up) on Hounslow’s YouTube
Listen to the Overview and Scrutiny meeting of 13th July meeting on the YouTube link here – we suggest you start at 1hr.50min when Katherine Dunne is questioned on Hounslow’s ‘Engagement Process’ ; make your own mind up about your own experience and whether it democratically serves the needs of our community Hounslow Council – YouTube
OneChiswick’s statement following the Bishopsgate Ruling
In January 2021, UTAG (the taxi drivers union) successfully challenged the Streetspace scheme in Bishopsgate and won on a number of grounds after lengthy and full deliberations by Mrs Justice Lang. On June 16th and 17th 2021, TFL won an appeal against this judgement.
Whilst we await the reasons for this we are advised UTAG may take their case to the Supreme Court to continue the fight against this social injustice.
OneChiswick continues to be committed to its fight for a safe traffic environment in Chiswick that is fair to all – pedestrians, cyclists, bus passengers, motorists, young and old, able and disabled. We believe that the temporary C9 imposed suddenly and without consultation by Hounslow Council is unsafe and overwhelmingly unpopular with the people of Chiswick. We are particularly concerned for the many elderly and disabled residents who should be protected by the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act (PSED). We believe they have been failed – they deserve to have their quality of life and freedom to move around safely. With regard to both the cases that have recently come before the Courts – one involving Lambeth Council and the other involving TfL and the taxi drivers, we will look with interest to read those judgements when they are published in full. It was interesting to see that TfL argued in their appeal that it was not for TfL but for local Borough Councils such as Hounslow to discharge duties under the Equality Act. We believe Hounslow failed in that duty when it implemented the temporary C9 scheme through a rushed decision by a single officer, without putting the scheme through any Committee or consultation at the time. For this reason, Chiswick continues to suffer daily from a dangerous cycleway, which also inflicts appalling congestion and pollution on residents, when much safer and more practical designs could have been implemented. We are committed on behalf of thousands of Chiswick residents to work for change that is needed in order to protect people and save lives. Hounslow Council must think again.
Press releases and latest messages from OneChiswick June 2021
OneChiswick has no connection with any damage to Council traffic counters
June 1st Statement
Exactly one month ago, accusations were made and repeated on social media without any evidence or indeed any truth whatsoever, which insinuated that members of OneChiswick had vandalised a garden and destroyed some flowers. It soon became clear these claims were in fact ludicrous and those claiming it quickly withdrew their insinuations.
Now just one month later it appears that traffic counters set up by Hounslow Council around Chiswick have been damaged which is very bad news for all of us who want the collection of good accurate traffic data. Some councillors have have suggested this is deliberate vandalism. It is unclear whether this happened as a result of any systematic criminality. Other people have suggested it was the work of young foxes who can be very destructive indeed. We don’t know and given that there appears to be so much damage over so many sites – the police should be called to investigate before further accusations are made and hasty conclusions reached.
What we can categorically state is that OneChiswick had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. We are against the imposition of LTNs and the unsafe Cycle Lane but we are in favour of the proper collection of accurate traffic data and we are entirely against law breaking or vandalism of any kind.
It has been further alleged by the ChiswickCalendar website which is known for its eager and consistent support of the activities of Hounslow Council and its Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods policies that:
“The Facebook group OneChiswick, who are taking the council to Judicial Review over the cycle lane through Chiswick, published a list of locations where the traffic counting strips had been placed a few days earlier.”
This is a highly misleading statement and we have written to the editor Bridget Osborne about this asking her to remove it.
There was a wide ranging and legitimate discussion in the private Facebook group about the traffic counters not just in Chiswick but in the entire Borough and even across London but no list of locations was published.
OneChiswick is a campaigning organisation who operate entirely within the law to achieve a just and lawful outcome for the residents of Chiswick who are overwhelmingly against the changes being imposed by the London Borough of Hounslow. We will never encourage or carry out any vandalism and will continue to refute and resist any concerted bogus claims to discredit our reputation.
UPDATE ON TIMING OF JUDICIAL REVIEW
“The Judicial Review which was originally due to be heard on June 17/18 will now be postponed until September or early October. This decision was agreed mutually between all the parties; One Chiswick Ltd, London Borough of Hounslow and Transport for London and has been confirmed by the Judge, Mr Justice Kerr.
This will ensure that it is heard after the TfL’s appeal against judgment against them in the UTAG (taxi drivers’s) case. which will be reviewing the lawfulness of the Streetspace programme. It will also give all parties more time to review the evidence, which is extensive, and allow time for discussions between the parties” 23rd May 2021
Hounslow Council is Not Listening and Wants To Waste More Taxpayers Money on Streetspace Schemes that Residents have Overwhelmingly Rejected
(A letter to Hounslow Council in response to Steer’s report (below) on the overwhelming rejection of Hounslow’s Streetspace Measures:)
‘OneChiswick welcomes the confirmation of the “overwhelming opposition” to Hounslow’s Streetspace Schemes revealed in the Council’s Interim Report this week. The silent majority has spoken. In accordance with the public’s wishes, OneChiswick calls on the Council to reverse all Streetspace Schemes by 21 June.
This local opposition is very understandable and follows on from the judgement handed down by Justice Lang in January 2021 that both the Mayor of London and TfL’s London Streetspace Plan (and the associated Interim Guidance for Boroughs) were unlawful. Many Councils wisely ripped out their schemes followingthis judgement. Only the most extreme are holding out.
Hounslow Council is now faced with:
-The schemes being unlawful
– Overwhelming opposition to the schemes from residents and businesses, as reported by their own consultants in their own report
– Residents becoming alarmed that this is the most undemocratic Council in the history of Hounslow, as it proposes wasting even more money on schemes its residents have said they don’t want.
OneChiswick was formed to stand up for Chiswick and resist these unwanted road changes. It has been entirely vindicated in its position about the level of opposition across Chiswick.
It is now clear that OneChiswick, does indeed represent the majority view. Hounslow Council has had an unfortunate tendency to promote, favour and resource minority groups who command little respect in the community.
Hounslow claimed that people would come to adapt and accept these changes but in fact opposition is growing daily as more and more people become increasingly inconvenienced:being forced into circuitous routes to and from their own homes; suffering protracted delays on bus transport across Chiswick; hold ups to emergency services; and having to deal with the delays to much needed community care.
The Hounslow Streetspace schemes are failing on another key measure. They are increasing pollution levels rather than reducing them as witnessed by the queues on Acton Lane and South Parade, Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick Lane, Goldhawk Road, the A316 and Burlington Lane.
The Council Is Not Listening – Democracy Is Being Brought Into Disrepute
The abandonment and immediate reversal of the damaging changes Hounslow Council wrought upon Turnham Green Terrace is a decision they are taking in response to the overwhelming opposition expressed in the consultation process. 89% of respondents “strongly opposed” the scheme and 84% requested its immediate reversal.
But is Hounslow Council really listening to local residents?
In his announcement, Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and One Hounslow, said, “We recognised that many residents feel very strongly about Hounslow’s Streetspace trials and that’s why it was important for us to listen, to show we’re listening”.
Have you listened Mr Khan, or is this just to “show” you’re listening? If you are listening, then:
▪ Why are you not reopening Fishers Lane to motor vehicles, when 88% of respondents “strongly opposed” the scheme and 84% requested its immediate reversal? Further a petition against the scheme has been signed by over 10,000 Ealing and Hounslow residents.
▪ Why are you not immediately removing the Devonshire Road Streetspace scheme, where it was “strongly opposed” by 82% of respondents, and 79% requested its immediate reversal?
▪ Why are you proposing to reintroduce the Turnham Green Terrace scheme, so resoundingly rejected by residents, by paying for consultants to investigate “public realm improvement” (ie to pedestrianise large parts of it).
Mr Khan said he needed to be sure that the Council had heard the “voices of our communities”. They have spoken, very loudly and very clearly and all of the schemes should be reversed by 21 June.
The Council Should Not Waste More Taxpayers’ Money
Instead of reversing the schemes immediately – the overwhelming response to the consultation – Mr Khan and Hounslow Council are intent on spending more Council Tax money on engaging “third parties” (ie consultants) hoping they may give them a different answer. This is throwing good money after bad.
The implementation of Streetspace measures in Turnham Green Terrace cost £22,000, and that does not include the cost of staff to instal, maintain and remove the obstacles. This week, the council paid thousands of pounds more to have them ripped out.
It is time that Hounslow Council actually listened to the public they represent, instead of pretending to. To waste further money on Streetspace measures in the face of such overwhelming public opposition brings democracy into disrepute.
In the Council’s own consultation, residents in Chiswick (and across Hounslow) have overwhelmingly rejected the illegal Streetspace measures that Hounslow Council implemented. In the same survey residents overwhelmingly requested the immediate removal of the Streetspace measures.
OneChiswick requests of Hanif Khan and Hounslow Council that:
– All Streetspace measures in Devonshire Road and Fishers Lane are reversed immediately.
-All remaining schemes are removed by 21 June 2021.
The people of Chiswick have spoke many times this year. The message is absolutely consistent. Will Hounslow Council listen?’
ENDS 21st May 2021
HIGH LEVEL OF OPPOSITION TO CHISWICK’S UNPOPULAR STREET CHANGES CONFIRMED BY STEER published w/c 17th May –
Traffic consultant’s reports makes uncomfortable reading for council – from – Chiswick’s Local Web site (chiswickw4.com)
There has been a consistent increase in week day bus journey times on Chiswick High Road
The publication of the interim reports by transport consultant Steer has confirmed a very high level of opposition to Hounslow Council’s Streetspace schemes from residents in the Chiswick area.
The independent reports were commissioned by the council with over 10,000 responses provided by residents concerning recently introduced traffic measures across the borough. The level of opposition is likely to put further pressure on the council to unwind more of the schemes implemented last year. The scrapping of some measures has already been announced.
Across the 27 measures that were covered by the survey opposition ranged from 57% to 92% depending on the scheme with the proportion calling for trials to be stopped immediately varying from 50% to 88%. The now scrapped Turnham Green Terrace closure was the least popular scheme according to the analysis.
Steer notes that it takes time for transport scheme to reach a ‘steady state’ as users of the transport system need to explore various options and adjust their habits in response to changed conditions. The consultant is to prepare a full report on the schemes being continued by the council at a later date.
Steer acknowledged that any conclusions about the effect of the council’s measures had to be considered in the context of a significant decline in traffic across the borough for the period during which the analysis was done. Overall, traffic on the borough’s distributor roads was down significantly during the time of the review although local and residential roads have been less affected.
Steer did not attempt to separate the impact of Covid-19 reductions in traffic and Streetpace measures on air quality as any affects were likely to be masked. It states that the suddenness of the Secretary of State’s May 2020 directive under which many of the Streetspace measures were undertaken meant that there was no ability to undertake “before” surveys of air quality on the roads affected to establish baselines against which “after” surveys could be measured.
The South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme including the restrictions on Staveley Road and Hartington Road was not considered by the report and temporary Cycleway 9 was only covered incidentally as their interim review is at a later date.
In ‘Chiswick North’ defined as the area north of the A4 the council has already decided to permanently scrap the restriction on traffic in Turnham Green Terrace. Steer concluded that the north/south restriction on the Terrace was displacing traffic to Goldhawk Road and Acton Lane.
The report states that the number of longer distance trips using Turnham Green Terrace and Fisher’s Lane have been reduced by the measures but goes onto say, “It appears that traffic flows on Bath Road are slightly higher than would be expected relative to borough-wide trends. However, it is difficult to conclusively say whether this is due to the scheme or caused by other factors.”
Steer analysed the responses on Hounslow Council’s Citizenspace platform of there were 2582 concerning the Turnham Green Terrace closure. Of these 89% strongly opposed the measure with another 3% somewhat opposed. Certain measures on Turnham Green Terrace have now been scrapped Chiswick’s Local Web site (chiswickw4.com)
Although the closure of Fisher’s Lane is a London Borough of Ealing measure, Steer analysed the results of feedback on the Citizenspace platform. There were 1,124 responses about Fisher’s Lane, 88% of which strongly opposed it with 3% somewhat opposed. Analysis has showed that the date of response had little influence on feelings about the measure or its future.
The closure of Devonshire Road was opposed by 86% of the 659 respondents with 14% in favour. The primary area of concern was the measure’s impact on the independent shops located on Devonshire Road, largely due to perceptions of decreased footfall, brought about by the removal of vehicle access and parking on the street. Some respondents expressed concern that the removal of vehicle access makes shopping on Devonshire Road unattractive.
88% of the 137 people who responded specifically on the measure to restrict access from Chiswick High Road onto Duke Road were strongly opposed to the measure with just 9% indicating some measure of support. The primary areas of concern were increased congestion on surrounding roads causing longer journey times and the resultant impact on air quality.
246 people responded specifically to the survey on the closure of access to the A4 from Harvard Hill with 62% either strongly or somewhat opposed and 37% strongly or somewhat in favour. Steer’s analysis suggested the measure has significantly reduced traffic around Harvard Hill but may have contributed to an increase in traffic on Thames Road and Strand on the Green.
The positioning of a planter on Dan Mason Drive to stop traffic using the railway underpass was comparatively less unpopular with 57% strongly opposed and 7% somewhat opposed out of 200 respondents. Half said it should be removed immediately with another 10% saying it should be scrapped at the end of the trial period. 30% wanted the measure put in place permanently. Steer’s analysis found no evidence of displaced traffic due to the measure.
The council have decided to make the closure of access to traffic to the South Circular from Wellesley Road permanent. The measure was included in the survey with 62% of 170 respondents opposed to some degree most of them referring to increased congestion on surrounding roads, notably Oxford Road North and Chiswick High Road.
Steer found a consistent increase in bus journey times throughout the day on weekdays on Chiswick High Road and for the afternoon peak on Saturday although while Turnham Green Terrace was closed to general traffic there was an improvement in southbound journey times for buses using this route.
For access to the A4 the report concludes that vehicles travelling south have generally been displaced from alternative routes onto Sutton Court Road. The volume of traffic using these routes overall is down. It thought possible that displaced traffic from restrictions on Duke Road and Devonshire Road has also contributed to the increase in traffic on Sutton Court Road.
Hounslow Council also has given consideration of exemption for Blue Badge holders from some prohibited traffic movements. It was decided not to do this because of difficulties in determining whether or not the Blue Badge holder was in the vehicle to be exempt from any moving traffic offence.
A spokesperson for the Hounslow Cycling Campaign said the group was still reviewing the large amount of information contained in the reports adding, “Certainly at first glance it is good news that the data does not appear to indicate increased pollution and congestion which were two of the main objections to all of the schemes.
“The data confirmed Fisher’s Lane as primarily a through route for traffic from Acton and Shepherd’s Bush to the A4. We fully support keeping it closed to traffic except buses as a north-south cycling and walking link between Ealing and Chiswick High Rd and Cycleway 9. Enforcement needs to be improved, however.
“The junction of Fisher’s Lane and Chiswick High Road had the highest numbers of pedestrian casualties in Chiswick caused by collisions with motor vehicles so keeping it closed represents a major safety benefit.
“Devonshire Road is being transformed into a vibrant street for people rather than parking and cars driving through. We have been asking for two way cycling on Devonshire Rd for some time and this should be put in place permanently as part of the street’s transformation (except when there are events such as markets).”
The final review for the scheme will be published in July 2021, along with decisions about which schemes will be made permanent.
The Streetspace measures on Turnham Green Terrace
CHISWICK NEEDS YOU!
Campaign leaflet to raise funds for the judicial review of C9(T), lands on doormats throughout Chiswick
OneChiswick, the group campaigning to reverse the road changes, is today starting to distribute a striking new leaflet specifically to raise more funds for the upcoming judicial review of C9T (now scheduled for early autumn), the temporary cycle lane on Chiswick High Road.
The leaflet features the iconic image used by Lord Kitchener to recruit troops for the first World War, to attract the attention of residents and encourage donations. The back of the leaflet contains information on the judicial review and the many reasons why C9(T) and other Streetspace schemes need to be reversed and residents consulted properly. It coincides with unprecedented queues of traffic and related pollution as we emerge from lockdown and includes a QR code that links to the group’s GoFundMe fundraising account.
Speaking about this latest stage of the campaign, a spokesperson for OneChiswick said,
“Residents and businesses remain extremely angry about the changes and the way in which their views have been ignored and rejected. Gridlock, pollution, long detours and millions in unfair fines are not their only concerns. They are also angry about the inequality C9(T) causes for disabled people, frail or elderly and for the many worrying delays to the emergency, medical and care services and our public transport, on which everyone relies.
More and more people are also deeply concerned about the devastating impact of C9(T), the road closures and removed parking are having on so many shop owners. Chiswick has also become a no go area for the many who used to visit our shops, restaurants and community from neighbouring places. We hope for a generous response to our appeal to cover the costs of the judicial review – it is one of our best hopes to bring back the Chiswick we love.”
OneChiswick has set up a GoFundMe page for donations: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/onechiswick-united-against-streetspace-changes
OneChiswick is encouraging residents to put the leaflet in their windows, just as many did with its previous poster “Hounslow Council is Destroying Chiswick”.
Press Release 23 Feb 2021
LOCAL BUS DRIVER CONFIRMS C9 IS A DISASTER FOR CHISWICK
AND PREDICTS IT WILL BE “MAYHEM” AFTER LOCKDOWN
In a hard-hitting interview a local Chiswick bus driver has confirmed that C9 is a disaster for Chiswick bus drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users. He describes being in a near miss with a cyclist and is fearful of what might happen if there is a major incident requiring all emergency services to travel through Chiswick.
The bus driver, who has asked to remain anonymous, currently drives E3, 272 and H91 buses and has over 11 years’ experience driving buses in London. He volunteered to be interviewed because he is so frustrated by the effects of C9.
Speaking candidly, he describes a near miss incident when he stepped off the bus at a changeover point and nearly got run over by a cyclist who was going in a different direction. This was “a big breach” in safety, he said.
He anticipates a “big, big, big, clash” if an ambulance, a fire vehicle and police need to get through Chiswick High Road to reach a significant emergency incident.
On travel times he said bus journeys had been drastically affected particularly at changeover points, when buses are loading, and at bus stops, and that this was affecting local businesses. “There are big long queues” which slow down others’ journeys on Chiswick High Road. He added that it “is not acceptable” especially “when you think about the ripple effect of it”.
“Let’s watch out when everything goes back to normal … it’s going to be mayhem on Chiswick High Road,” he added.
“The people who are behind the idea, they need to go back to the drawing board and have a rethink and re-plan – listen to the bus drivers, listen to the locals, listen to the passengers and then we can get a better Chiswick” he concluded.
The bus driver was interviewed by local resident Marjorie Frew. She asked him for his view and his immediate response showed just how much C9 is of concern to him and his bus driver colleagues. She then asked him if he would be willing to be interviewed, mindful of the risks involved in speaking out. He agreed saying it was extremely important to tell people just how concerned bus drivers are.
The interview is attached and is available to view/listen. The driver’s words are spoken exactly as delivered by an actor, to preserve the bus driver’s anonymity.
OneChiswick, the local group of residents campaigning for a common- sense approach to meeting the challenges of the climate emergency, is now working towards its judicial review of the illegal C9 which is planned for 16th/17th June. It is encouraging residents to contribute to the legal costs by donating via its GoFundMe account: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/onechiswick-united-against-streetspace-changes
Notes to Editors
- The bus driver interview: is available to view and is attached; the voice is spoken by an actor to protect the identity of the driver.
- The transcript: of the interview is also attached.
- OneChiswick. OneChiswick is a group of Chiswick residents who have come together to represent the views of the majority of Chiswick residents and businesses. It is working to reverse the road access and parking changes that Hounslow and Ealing councils have imposed through the Streetspace project, LTNs and C9T. OneChiswick fully supports and encourages walking and cycling (many in the group are keen and regular cyclists) and the need to respond to the pandemic and the climate emergency. It is the execution, and the lack of full and proper professional consultation, to which it objects.
- Fundraising for the judicial review of C9: On 12th February 2021 at a decisions meeting at the High Court it was confirmed that there would be a judicial review of Hounslow council’s decision on C9T – early autumn 2021. It is now fundraising to cover its legal costs. Please donate via its GoFundMe account: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/onechiswick-united-against-streetspace-changes
- Petition to re-open Turnham Green Terrace and Fishers Lane; with nearly 10,000 signatures: https://www.change.org/p/hounslow-and-ealing-councils-petition-against-closure-fishers-lane-and-turnham-green-terrace-in-chiswick-to-cars
- Petition to consult on South Chiswick traffic measures; with nearly 3,000 signatures: https://www.change.org/p/hounslow-council-south-chiswick-traffic-measures
- Website: https://onechiswick.com/
For further information please contact
The OneChiswick team on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release 17th February 2021
High Court grants OneChiswick date for Court Case to Fight the Undemocratic, Unlawful and Unsafe C9 cycleway.
OneChiswick, the group set up to reverse the undemocratic, unlawful and unsafe road changes in Chiswick and stop the abuse of power by the London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) has achieved a notable first objective.
The 12 February High Court Decision
On 12th February the High Court directed that One Chiswick Limited’s Judicial Review application in respect of LBH’s decision to implement a temporary bidirectional cycle lane on Chiswick High Road (@C9 Cycle Lane).
One Chiswick says that this decision was unlawful and the C9 Cycle Lane is unsafe, causes increased pollution and is clearly intended to be permanent. Further, it was implemented without any prior consultation.
The Court hearing has been set for 17 June 2021.
The C9 Cycle Lane was opened in December 2020 and has been condemned by the majority of Chiswick’s residents, including disability groups and local businesses, as it took out the bus lane causing massive queues for buses and cars, creating more idling traffic and pollution and restricting the movement of all emergency services. In addition:
- Chiswick’s most vulnerable residents now have cross the C9 Cycle Lane with the real risk of collision to reach the bus stop and then to wait at floating bus stops with no cover,
- Cars are regularly seen driving into the cycle lanes at key junctions having accidently mistaken them for lanes.
- Carers say that journeys that once took them 10 minutes have increased more than four-fold and they are missing appointments.
- The C9 Cycle Lane is not safe for cyclists – there have already been several accidents.
All of these problems will be magnified many times over once the Covid restrictions are lifted.
A spokesperson for OneChiswick says:
“LBH and TfL say this a temporary scheme for COVID, but spending over £250,000, ripping out bus lanes and pedestrian islands, and inserting new traffic light systems is not temporary. Their supporters at London Cycling Campaign are on record that it is not a temporary scheme; that is unlawful.
Look at what neighbouring (London Borough of) Hammersmith and Fulham have done on King Street with the barriers. That is temporary. Chiswick High Road is clearly not.
Worse still, they have completely ignored the most vulnerable, the disabled, the elderly and those who need to use public transport. This is a dereliction of their duty of care by the London Borough of Hounslow.
This ruling is a major step forward in our fight to have this illegal scheme reversed and return Chiswick to what it was before. Sadly, we have had to take TfL and LBH to court which has costs. We urge residents, businesses and people who love to come to Chiswick to shop, relax and meet their friends to donate to this worthwhile cause through our Go Fund Me platform https://uk.gofundme.com/f/onechiswick-united-against-streetspace-changes. A significant amount has been raised so far but the next phase is going to be particularly expensive.”
OneChiswick which started as a Facebook group, now has a website, OneChiswick.com, a Go Fund Me Page and a petition (that has nearly 10,000 signatures on it) opposing these schemes.https://onechiswick.com/https://uk.gofundme.com/f/onechiswick-united-against-streetspace-changeshttps://www.change.org/p/hounslow-and-ealing-councils-petition-against-closure-fishers-lane-and-turnham-green-terrace-in-chiswick-to-cars